BIRMINGHAM, AL — Homeless people will have to go hungry if the government has its way in Birmingham. Without expensive permits and abiding by onerous regulations, simple acts of charity are prohibited, and police are standing ready to enforce these restrictions.
A new city ordinance is forcing people like Rick Wood to shut down his weekly homeless ministry unless he pays the government hundreds of dollars and abides by the onerous regulations of the city.
Wood, a Christian minister, was recently shut down by Birmingham Police for serving the homeless in Linn Park. They demanded that he show them a permit or leave.
“That makes me so mad,” Wood said to ABC3340 News. “These people are hungry. They’re starving. They need help from people. They can’t afford to buy something from a food truck.”
Mr. Wood has been ministering to the homeless for about six years, he said. He drives in his van to places where he knows the city’s homeless camp out. One spot he regularly visits is under a bridge where several camping tents are set up.
“I was hungry, I was thirsty, I was naked, I was sick and in prison,” Wood said, quoting Jesus from the Bible. “When you do to them, you do to me.”
But nothing could be less compassionate than the force of government.
The new permits were passed off as “health regulations” but are actually a mechanism to stifle competition in the food industry and protect politically-connected businesses.
To abide by the regulations, Rick Wood would have to pay $300 for a “general permit” and apply for a permit to operate a “food truck.” He would have to abide by extensive red tape. His hours of operation would be limited. He would be unable to feed anyone within 150 feet of a brick-and-mortar food establishment.
Feeding the homeless in the city center would be even more regulated. The “premier permit” would cost $500.
The new rules have been tough on entrepreneurs as well, who have called the ordinance “restrictive and oppressive.”
Wood says he’s going to continue serving the homeless from his church, The Church of the Reconciler in downtown Birmingham.
Sadly, this phenomenon is common in cities across the country. Police State USA recently covered a story about a group of church volunteers who were threatened by the police for feeding homeless people biscuits and coffee in Raleigh, NC. There are numerous other incidents that have garnered national attention as of late. It is unclear why the government feels so threatened by volunteerism and charity.
Here is Rick Wood’s interaction with a homeless gentleman, via ABC3340:
Earnest thanks goes to all those who have contributed to the operation of this website. We are committed to covering
stories that remain conspicuously ignored by the national mainstream media, and your generous support is essential
to effectively distributing this message. Many victims of government-sanctioned violence offer their gratitude.